November 2011 Moms

Considering natural birth, need to hear from those who have done it.

(Repost from Natural Birth)

I have been doing my research and I have to say, the idea of a hospital birth is becoming less and less appealing. I know I do not want a home birth but we have a birth center in my town full of CNMs. I have to say, none of my options for getting this baby out are very appealing but considering all the variables I am at least thinking about going the birth center route. Every time I seriously think about doing this without an epidural it makes me want to cry and throw up a bit, but so does the thought of having an unnecessary c-section. What to do, what to do? I would love to hear from anyone who has done this before, both positive and negative stories. I know my family (and possibly my husband, have not mentioned it to him yet) will not be particularly supportive of this idea but hey, it's our baby, no my family's. Of course I will not do it without DH's support. Thanks in advance.

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Re: Considering natural birth, need to hear from those who have done it.

  • I had my DD drug-free, attended by a CNM at a hospital.  To me, it was the best of both worlds.  I sought out a hospital that offered water birth and other comforts of a birth center, while still offering the medical back-up that a hospital would.

    I am *so* thankful that I went the route I did.  My midwife was amazing, and did everything right.  BUT I had some serious complications after delivery (no way to predict) and my midwife made the decision to call for OB back-up, and he was there in 30 seconds. I am so thankful that if things had gotten even more serious, I was in a place that could handle the complications.

    I am having a midwife attended birth (even though they have pointed out to me that they will make sure an OB is in the hospital in case the same complications arise) again, because I think a CNM can be a great advocate.  With her on my side, I know that I won't end up with an unnecessary c-section.  BUT, if I truly need one, I am somewhere that I can get one.  Same with pain meds - I wanted to go drug-free, but if I had changed my mind, the epi option was just down the hall.

    Good luck making the decision that works best for you and your family!

    (one point - it is your birthing/delivery process, but you are carrying precious cargo, and it is not just your baby, it is your DH's too.  When it comes to medical care for his child, he should definitely get a say)

  • My husband I and did hypnobirthing.  My plan was to go completely med free however, ultimately did need to be induced and get an epidural.  The hypnobirthing techniques and preparation still had a completely positive impact on my birth experience and are very likely what saved me from a c-section.

    I highly recommend it.  To go med free or not is not a decision you need to make now.  In many cases, it's not a decision YOU make at all.  Remember, you can do all the research you want, your baby isn't doing any.  It's your baby who ultimately determines the kind of birth you have.  That said, I'm 100% for people on the fence preparing for a natural birth.  Since so many things about the birth experience can not be planned out in advance, the more preparation you have and the more tools you have to draw on, the more you will be able to control and the better you will feel about the unexpected things that pop up.  You have absolutely nothing to lose by preparing for a med free birth and quite a bit to gain. 

  • image BeccaMarie:

    (one point - it is your birthing/delivery process, but you are carrying precious cargo, and it is not just your baby, it is your DH's too.  When it comes to medical care for his child, he should definitely get a say)

    I of course agree with you on this one. I just reread that part of my post. I just didn't want to even start the conversation with him unless I am pretty sure it's something I want to peruse. The "my baby" comment was for the rest of my family, not DH.  I would not dream of doing it without his support. Thanks for the advice.

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  • Both of mine were in a hospital and this one will be also. My 1st was induced and epidural. My 2nd her labor was so quick (3 1/2 hours) by the time I deceided to go to the hospital I was already dilated 9 cm so couldn't get the epidural and honestly it wasn't bad at all. I was scared more then it hurt. DOn't get me wrong the actual labor part I was the only one awake breathing and even standing in the shower for about an hour (so didnt even notice water broke) before I woke someone up to time contractions. But it wasn't to the point I couldn't withstand the pain. I pushed her out quickly. So I'm thinking of doing the same thing with this baby. Also they always say the first baby the labor is really long (mine was). I chose the hospital because I was able to rest and have peace a quiet for a few days and do nothing. I couldnt imagin going right home after having a baby!

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  • I have given birth both with epidural and without. With my first son I went into labor with my water breaking without the first contraction. I was about 4cm when I got to the hospital and my pain level was not something I couldn't manage. I was really scared though and got the epidural.It did not hinder my labor at all and made it quite pleasant. He was born 8 hours after my water broke.

    With my second son I decided I'd try drug free only because it had been so fast the first time. My contractions came on quickly and I was dialted 6 or 7 when I got to the hospital. I refused the epidural twice and worked with a midwife who moved me around to try to stay comfortable. Again, it was a wonderful experience. The only time I felt like the pain was unmanagable was at the very end. I was begging for the epidural at that point and it was too late! It was an awesome experience though, and I wouldn't change it for anything.

    If I were you I would go to the hospital and work with a midwife. That way you are in a place where you can get help if needed. Also, don't beat yourself if you end up with an epidural. Maybe go into it with the attitude,"I'm going to try to go natural and if it doesn't work out it is ok." As a FTM you have no idea what to expect and the goal is a healthy baby and healthy mama regardless how you get there.

  • I'm sorry I might have missed something but why do you think you will get a c-section?  I gave birth in the hospital and it was med free until I got to 9cm and then I got an epi. 

    I personally would rather give birth in a hospital because you never know what could go wrong.  Talk to your doctor and let them know you want to do all other options before hand and they will respect your wishes. 

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  • DH and I took Bradley classes in preparation for DS's natural delivery.  I also read a bunch of books - The Thinking Woman's Guide, Ina May's Guide, Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way, etc.  I saw a midwifery practice within a hospital.  Really, I couldn't have asked for a much better experience in the hospital.  My water broke at 1am and they still encouraged me to stay home as long as possible.  We got to the hospital around 8am and I had DS before 1pm.  I was in real labor for probably around 10hrs, but I was so in the zone that the time seemed to fly by.  My MW practice was great.  I didn't have to get an IV, no one asked if I wanted pain relief, I got to hold DS for 2 hrs before they took him for his initial exam & measurements, they followed our birth plan completely.

    This time around, we decided to go to a free standing birth center.  While the hospital based practice was great, there were a few things I didn't like.  The biggest one was probably the nurses.  The nurse I had for most of my labor did not seem too familiar with natural birth (they deliver on the hospital low risk floor, so the majority of the patients they see - something like 80% - have epidurals).  The MW was really not around for most of my L&D.  There were 3 or 4 of us in labor at the same time, so she was spread thin.  And in huge contrast to a lot of women who like hospital delivery b/c they get to rest before going home...DH and I were going stir crazy at the hospital and we were only there about 24hrs after DS's birth.  This time, barring complications, we'll be home within 6hrs of delivery...perfect to me.  I also wonder if things could have been even better...if I had continued to listen to my body, I would have rested for a while during pushing and maybe not torn (I had a 2nd degree tear), but the MW and nurses kept encouraging me to push.  I'm still not sure if it was necessary for DS's safety or if that's "just what you do".  I feel that at the birth center, I'll be confident that if a situation like that arises this time, I'll know that what the MWs suggest is necessary, not just routine, if that makes sense. 

  • I've had two natural births.  My first was in a hospital with an OB/GYN.  My second was at a free-standing birth center with CNMs.  This third baby will also be at the free-standing birth center with CNMs. 

    My first hopsital birth wasn't terrible per se, but my daughter is five and I still have a lot of anger about some things.  I showed up at 9cm dilated because my OB told me the only way I was getting a natural birth was to labor at home as long as possible because once I showed up to the hospital I would be subjected to their rules and routines.  She was right.  I'm glad I didn't show up any sooner.  When I got there the nurse put in an IV when I told her I didn't want an IV and I told her that my doctor had said I could just have a heplock.  But she told me my baby needed fluids so I had to have it.  Remember I'm 9cm at this point, delivery was imminent.  My baby didn't need the fluids.  Then when it came time to push they had me pushing on my back, even though everything in my body was telling me to be on all fours.  I told them I wanted to push not on my back and they told me I had to.  My doctor had told me when we discussed it that I could push in any position.  So I pushed on my back.  The stupid nurse kept putting an oxygen mask on me while I pushed, which was so beyond irritating I can't even tell you.  Because you know "my baby neede oxygen."  They push you into things because of "the baby" and make you feel like a child abuser when you try to do things differently. 

    Anyway, as I was pushing I never even felt the ring of fire.  My OB got there, looked and told me that my water bag was holding the baby in so she broke my water.  Didn't even really give me a chance to react.  As soon as my water broke the baby literally shot out like a water cannon.  that's DH's description.  I ended up with a third degree tear and had internal tearing as well.  I blame the doctor mostly for that.  Had I been allowed to push on all fours and had my water not been broken I probably wouldn't have had such an awful tear.  I only labored at the hospital for one hour before my baby was in my arms and yet they managed to piss me off to the point that I'm still angry when I think about it 5 years later.  I spent the rest of my hospital stay fighting to keep baby with me.  They kept trying to take her to the nursery to "warm her up," and would not let me do skin on skin with warm blankets on top of us to try to warm her that way despite my repeated requests.  When I walked out of the hospital I looked at DH and told him that I was never having another baby in a hospital.  At that time there was no birth center so I told him to get used to the idea of home birth.

     A few months after my first was born a birth center opened.  Lucky for us because DH was still not so on board with the idea of a home birth.  My second delivery was night and day different from my first.  It was very peaceful and I was completely allowed and encouraged to do what my body told me to do.  No one was telling me what to do, just my own body.  I showed up at 4-5 cm dilated and again within an hour and a half I was holding my baby.  I never had to fight anyone.  It was so absolutely 100% amazing.  Here's the story I posted after it.

    So needless to say it was not a difficult choice this time to decide to deliver at the birth center again.  I probably could have talked DH into a home birth this time if I wanted because after seeing a hospital birth and a birth center birth he is now a full advocate of natural childbirth in a setting other than a hospital.  But I really like the birth center and want to deliver there again. 

    It's a very personal decision.  I would take a tour at the birth center and see what you think about it.  Read Pushed by Jennifer Block and see what you think after reading that.  Watch a documentary like the Business of Being Born (which I wasn't a huge fan of, but there aren't many like it out there.

    Mama to Lucy (7/06), Lexi (5/09), and Max (11/11) M/C 12/17/10
  • image Sarahbear621:

    I'm sorry I might have missed something but why do you think you will get a c-section?  I gave birth in the hospital and it was med free until I got to 9cm and then I got an epi. 

    I personally would rather give birth in a hospital because you never know what could go wrong.  Talk to your doctor and let them know you want to do all other options before hand and they will respect your wishes. 

    I just know that c-section rates are sky rocketing, as is the use of pitocin which can cause the baby's heart rate to drop due to overly strong contractions thus leading to a c-section that could possibly have been avoided if the woman had just been allowed to labor naturally for a longer period of time. Also, the rate of c-sections among plus size women (which I am) is even higher than average. I just don't want to end up with an unnecessary c-section b/c of unnecessary medical intervention. I'm not opposed to the epidural so much as all the other "helpful" tactics they like to use.

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  • I had a drug free, natural birth at a hospital.  A OB/GYN delivered.  I had no problems what so ever.  I just had a birth plan, talked to the nurse and dr about my wants and needs and was fine.

    I did labor at home for a very long time.  I didn't go to the hospital until I felt like it was time (I know that is so vague, but the contractions were 3 minutes a part and I was starting to get a feeling that I needed to push soon) When I arrived at the hospital, I was already 7 cm dilated and really there wasn't much time for an epidural.

  • Do you have multiple hospital options near you? I would really search out a good maternity hospital. The hospital I am delivering at doesn't even have a nursery (unless baby is ill obviously). They employ the use of multiple alternative medicine options, encourage woman to labor and birth in positions that are comfortable for them, etc. At one point, I remember telling the nurse that I wanted drugs and she told me, "no you don't - you told me not to let you talkyourself into them. You're doing great!". It was the prefect response for me.

    birth center style hospitals do exist - you just need to find them!

  • Mrs.Greeko's description seems pretty close to home.  I arrived at the hospital at 4 cm dilated and opted to go home and I stayed there for about another 24 hours before going back again knowing that laboring at home for as long as possible was best.  When I went back, I was fully dilated.  My OB/GYN was on vacation, so I dealt with the on-call doctor.  My OB/GYN and I had discussed skipping the saline lock but the on-call doctor said that she would not deliver my baby without it.  So, in it went, and pretty soon there were IV fluids hooked up.  I was allowed to move around and push in whatever position I pleased, but it was difficult because of the damn IV pole.  Then they couldn't get a good read on the monitors because I was moving around too much and next thing I knew they were putting in an internal monitor.  I also ended up hooked up to oxygen.  Doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but it was in the way and kept falling off.  Just a major distraction.  The nurses did a lot of perineal massage while I was pushing - something I will ask them not to do this time around as I believe in caused swelling and contributed to my tearing.  When DS was crowning they put the squat bar away and asking me to get on my back because the doctor "wouldn't deliver in that position".  WTF.  Posterior baby, second degree tear.  Then I was given routine pitocin to deliver the placenta.

    Overall, natural birth wasn't that big of a deal to me.  I labored at home in the tub and was able to stay calm and collected.  I even slept between contractions.  I imagine that staying that centered would be harder in the hospital with everything that goes on.  I really needed quiet, dim lights, calm.  I labored completely alone (DH was asleep) and that's how I needed it to be.

    The hospital part was a bit stressful to me.  We don't have a birth center down here so I will be going back, but with a midwife (that used to be a doula) this time.  Last time I took a natural birth class with a doula.  No particular method.  I read a lot of books and dabbled in a lot of different ideas.  This time I'm doing hypnobabies and I hope I can apply some of those concepts to stay focused even if I do go to the hospital at 7 or 8 cm.

    ~Working Mom~Breastfeeding Mom~Cloth Diapering Mom~BLW Mom~

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  • First off, make an appointment with the birth center ASAP.  Even if you do not decide to birth there, many birth centers (and OBs as well) will not accept a transfer of care if you wait until too far into a pregnancy. 


    I had DS med-free (except for antibiotics since I was GBS+) at a birth center and it was a wonderful experience.  I had a very long labor (about 36 hours), but I can honestly say asking for pain meds never even crossed my mind.  Generally, I have a very low pain tolerance, but I found the pain of labor to be completely different and far more tolerable than any pain I had previously experienced.  I had a good deal of back labor since DS was sunnyside up for most of my labor; laboring in a water birth tub greatly relieved the discomfort.  Having an incredibly supportive husband in combination with the amazing support of my attending nurse and midwife made natural birth a good experience for me--I am looking forward to another natural birth with LO#2. 


    I will give you the one piece of advice for natural birth that a nurse (also a birthcenter momma) gave me at childbirth classes: "You can do anything for one day." 

    Anytime I felt like labor was getting to be too tough, I repeated that advice to myself; it helped me focus and keep on going.  

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